John Fennelly, Lead Writer
We learned Monday that the Giants’ top pick in this year’s NFL Draft, WR Odell Beckham Jr., will not be ready to play for several more weeks. He keeps aggravating his ailing hamstring, delaying his NFL debut.
Waiting for first-round picks to make an impact on the field is nothing new to the Giants. Since Jerry Reese became the GM in 2007, he’s drafted a slew of talented players in Round One of the NFL Draft, but few have been able to get on, and stay on, the field.
Reese’s first two top selections (CB Aaron Ross, 2007 and S Kenny Phillips, 2008) both had injury-riddled stints with the club (Ross had two of them, btw). Phillips’ chronic knee kept him from becoming a star. In five seasons with the Giants, Phillips dressed for only 56 games, starting 41. He is currently out of football.
Ross started 24 games in his first two seasons with the Giants, but only managed to start two games over the following two seasons. He bounced back and was a big part of the Super Bowl-winning defensive squad in 2011. After a season with Jacksonville in 2012, Ross returned to the Giants in 2013 only to find himself on IR after four games with a back ailment. Ross was signed as a free agent by the Ravens this past June, but will miss the year with a torn Achilles tendon.
Then came WR Hakeem Nicks in 2009. Nicks was a very productive player early on, but could not overcome nagging injuries and only scored After his relationship with the club turned contentious in 2013, Nicks and the Giants parted ways.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul was selected 15th overall by the Giants in the 2010 NFL Draft. After skyrocketing to stardom in 2011, JPP has been leveled by back and shoulder ailments. He has deemed himself healthy this summer and aims to get back to his 2011 form when he was named an NFL All-Pro.
Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara fell into the Giants’ lap in the first round of the 2011 draft, only to miss most of training camp with a broken foot. He did not make his NFL debut until Week 10 that season. Prince also missed the first two games of last season with a high ankle sprain.
The Giants chose RB David Wilson in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Wilson played all 16 games as a rookie and led the NFL in kickoff returns and yardage, but a neck injury in Week 5 of the 2013 season effectively ended Wilson’s career.
Reese has gotten lucky thus far with last year’s top pick. OL Justin Pugh started all 16 games as a rookie, a rare feat for a Giants’ first-round pick (Lawrence Taylor was the last in 1981). Pugh must be checking himself up down when he gets out of bed every day.
Let’s hope he’s a trend-breaker. And Beckham, once he debuts, follows in his footsteps from there on.